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SCU First Gen Staff/Faculty Profiles

Dale Larson
Professor, Counseling Psychology
Where did you attend college?

University of Chicago

What was your college experience like as a first-generation college student?

It was a joy to experience the intellectual adventure of being a student at the University of Chicago. I was initially intimidated by all the preppies and wealthy students in my classes, and there was the distance between this new world and the one I left, but my parents supported me and saw education as the key to the kind of opportunities and experiences they held dear. My father, a Marine Corps survivor of Iwo Jima, said he would sell our home to pay for college if I was able to attend, and that inspired me greatly. He did not graduate from high school, and neither did my mother, because they had to find work to support their families of origin, but they both went on to hold positions that you would need a masters degree to even apply for now. They modeled and supported a quest for learning and the capacity to work hard at what you do. I graduated with honors and was accepted into eight graduate programs in clinical psychology, and came to UC Berkeley for my doctorate. My parents always expressed pride in what I accomplished, and I will always thank them for making my education and subsequent career possible.

What message do you have to share with current first-generation college students?

Believe in yourself, be intellectually curious, build a supportive and loving community of friends and family, and pass the precious gift you have been given on to the next generation.